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France assures Israel of 'vigilance' on Iran N-pact   

Gulf Today - 17 July, 2017

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday assured visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his "vigilance" regarding the 2015 nuclear accord reached by Western powers with Iran.

Netanyahu “expressed his concerns regarding the Iranian regime,” Macron told reporters with Netanyahu at his side. “I assured him of our vigilance, in particular over the strict implementation of the accord in all its provisions.”

Netanyahu was a vocal opponent of the deal, which saw sanctions against Iran eased in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

The French presidency said Sunday’s meeting, the first official talks between Macron and Netanyahu, would be an occasion to “signal our lack of complacency towards Iran.”

Earlier, Netanyahu arrived in Paris on Sunday to hold talks with Emmanuel Macron, barely a week after Macron met Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu’s talks with Macron followed Sunday morning’s commemoration ceremony and was looking for a clearer idea of the French president’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Earlier this month, Macron held talks with Abbas at the Elysee Palace.

He chose that occasion to reiterate both France’s support for a two-state solution to end the Middle East conflict, and its opposition to Israel’s building of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

But it is not yet clear if Macron will follow the more interventionist line taken by his predecessor Francois Hollande, whose efforts to mobilise the international community on the question angered Israel.

Talks between Israel and the Palestinians have not resumed since the failure of US mediation in the spring of 2014.

Since then the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has simmered on, with the occasional surge of violence such as Friday’s killings.

“France and Europe have to get to grips with the question,” former French ambassador to Israel, Elie Barnavi, said.

“There is perhaps an opportunity, given the state the White House is in at the moment, and the ‘plans’ of Donald Trump, which are still pretty vague and mysterious,” he added.

Trump, who at one point seemed to be backing away from Washington’s longstanding commitment to a two-state solution, called on both sides to make compromises during a visit to the region in May.
 
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